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SPE 80465

E8 Innovative Field Development

Aat Bos, Idawati Hamdan, Chin Hon Voon, Updesh Singh, Shell Malaysia E&P

Copyright 2003, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.

measured CO2 content of 1.7% and H2S content of less than
This paper was prepared for presentation at the SPE Asia Pacific Oil & Gas Conference and 10 ppm.
Exhibition to be held in Jakarta, Indonesia, 15-17 April 2003.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of
information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as
The southern culmination of the field was discovered by well
presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to E8-1 in 1970, and the northern culmination in 1978 by well
correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any
position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at E8-4 (the two appraisal wells E8-2 and E8-3 tested the
SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of
Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper
southern culmination and off structure silici-clastics
for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is respectively).
prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300
words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous
acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O.
Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.
The main subsurface uncertainties are degree of
communication and nature of the reservoir between southern
and northern accumulations, gross bulk volume and reservoir
Abstract properties distribution.
E8 is a carbonate reservoir with an estimated ultimate Start-up of production is planned for July 2006. The initial
recovery of 2.157 Tscf gas and 35 million stb of condensate. development scenario was for a standalone facility at E8. All
The reservoir is a carbonate build-up, consisting of two processing would be carried out at E8 before piping the gas,
pinnacles connected through a saddle area. The field will be via the E11 and existing trunklines.
developed at a peak capacity of 600 MMscf/d. As a result of
the study work for the FDP, the expectation recovery has There are opportunities to further reduce the development cost
increased by 370 Bscf gas. This is driven by an updated via options such as unmanned operations or produce E8 as a
structural model based on a revised seismic interpretation. satellite to the existing E11 Complex. The satellite option will
This has been achieved through a combination of improved potentially reduce a substantial amount of capital expenditure.
depth conversion method (Depth Team Express) as well as At the start of the field development, there were a number of
uncertainty reduction based on seismic inversion techniques. surface uncertainties that had to be resolved such as security of
supply and scope of additional facilities at E11.
In the era of uncertain hydrocarbon prices, optimisation is
aimed at ensuring high system availability, maintaining safety Subsurface
and environmental standards while achieving an economic
development. This paper describes the efforts undertaken to In this section an overview of the E8 reservoir is provided (see
maximise recovery from the field and the initiatives Figures 1 and 2).
undertaken to resolve challenges. The main challenges faced
in converting the development concept from standalone to The E8 gas field is a carbonate reservoir of Middle Miocene
satellite were production forecasting, security of supply, slug age (i.e. 10 million years ago). The carbonate reservoir was
management and unmanned operations. developed during a period of extensive coral reef growth and
carbonate sedimentation over the Luconia shelf. Some modern
Introduction day analogues of such an environment would be Layang
Layang in the Spratly Islands, Bahamas Bank and the Great
The E8 field is located some 140 km NW of Bintulu in a water Barrier Reef.
depth of around 195 ft. With current expectation gas reserves
of 2.5 Tscf (to an abandonment of 300 psi), it is the smallest of The E8 field is overlain by an extensive thickness of deep
the five Central Luconia gas fields (E8, E11, F13, F6, F23), marine shales, which provide the reservoir seal. In the very
which have been committed to the MLNG PSC. The shallow overburden, i.e. < 1000ft, seismic anomalies are seen
accumulation is contained in a pinnacle-type carbonate build- indicative of shallow gas bearing sands. In E8 this shallow gas
up with two culminations, separated by a saddle area. The directly overlies and is aerially confined to the southern
southern culmination has a gas column in excess of 1600 ft in pinnacle only (see Figure 3).
the pinnacle, whilst the northern culmination has a maximum
gas column of 650 ft. The gas is characterised by a low The structural geometry of the E8 field is relatively more
2 SPE 80465

complex than some of the existing producing gas fields e.g. concluded that the moveable GWC for the structure is at
F23 and E11. It comprises two build-ups, a steep flanked 5645ftss (+10 ft/-5 ft) with the North and South accumulations
pinnacle-type in the south and a flat-topped platform-type in having a common moveable GWC. The base of the paleo-
the north. The top reservoir depth of the southern pinnacle is residual zone was determined to be at 5695 ft. in well E8-4
approximately 3800ft, whilst in the north platform it is some and 5750 ft. in well E8-2. The gas within the paleo-residual
5000ft. The southern culmination has a gas column in excess gas zone will not be remobilised until it reaches its critical gas
of 1600 ft in the pinnacle, whilst the northern culmination has saturation as it expands when the reservoir pressure is
a maximum gas column of 650 ft. decreased.

Well data from E8-2 suggest presence of very thin carbonate Description of fluids and PVT data
layers (stringers) occurring above the main carbonate build-up.
Stringers result from an influx of carbonate sediments from a The initial reservoir pressure is 2550 psi and the dew point is
steep flank or build-up edge into the surrounding shales. Such 2428 psi at a formation temperature of 215 'F. E8-4 well
stringers have also been penetrated in the E11 field. The pressure data (pressure measurements in both gas and water
stringers constitute only a minor part of the E8 GIIP leg) were used to derive fluid gradients within the carbonates.
(approximately 5%) and reserves. They have limited thickness The derived gas and water gradient are 0.05 psi/ft and 0.42
and poor reservoir quality. It is uncertain whether the stringers psi/ft respectively and the E8 overpressure is estimated at 90
are connected to the main build-up. psi.

The north and south culminations are connected by a saddle The well test data from E8-4 confirms a ‘sweet’ relatively lean
area. The saddle is interpreted to contain carbonate reservoir gas with low CO2 and H2S concentrations of some 2 mol%
rocks of reasonable porosity. However the permeability of the and <10ppm respectively and an initial condensate gas ratio
saddle reservoir rock is uncertain. Based on existing well log (CGR) of 19stb/MMscf with a narrow range of +/-
and pressure data, both the south and north build-ups occur in 4stb/MMscf (stabilised condensate at BSTAB).
a similar pressure regime with a common GWC at 5645
However, during production the saddle area could potentially At the start of the FDP development a much higher CGR
act as a permeability or pressure baffle (restriction) between range (up-to 40 stb/MMscf) was carried. However a review of
north and south parts of the E8 field. the well test data (reference 1) shows that the higher CGR
measurements could be attributed to Unstable test conditions
The average well derived porosity for the gas-bearing zone in Operation of sampling equipment outside its operating
the E8 field is 20%. The porosity is lowest in the north (17%) envelope. Well tests have occurred at perforation intervals
and highest in the south (23%). The lower porosity in the north representative for the bulk of the E8 reserves. Therefore
is due to the relative predominance of fine-grained and mud- compositional grading is not likely to impact the
supported rock types. measured CGR.

The main carbonate rock type (lithology) in E8 is limestone, No information is available on the presence of wax and
although dolomite is also encountered. The dolomite occurs mercaptans. However these contaminants are generally not
predominantly in the aquifer section and the lower parts of the found in the Central Luconia region.
gas column. The main difference between dolomite and
Limestone is the permeability (see figure 4). Dolomite has a During the development of the field, the produced gas will
much higher permeability (100’smD) than limestone become lighter and the CGR declines with pressure from 19
(10’smD), in E8. stb/MMscf to a minimum of 13.5stb/MMstf at a corresponding
pressure of 724 psi.
In addition to dolomite, karst and/or fractures could result in a
much higher reservoir permeability. Well test data from E8 No down hole water samples were taken in any wells.
does not suggest contribution from any extensive non-matrix Produced water during DST production test proved to be
permeability from either karst and/or faults, showing good condensed water (salinity between 10000-24000 ppm). The
match with core and log data. amount of condensed water produced initially with the gas is
estimated at some 1.5 bbl/MMscf. This will gradually increase
However the presence of fractures or other flow enhancing to 7 bbl/MMscf at abandonment conditions.
features (non matrix permeability) cannot be entirely ruled
out. In other Luconia fields there are indications for presence Well Concept
of non-matrix permeability. Also there is some seismic As part of the development optimisation, well completion type
evidence in E8 that indicates presence of potential fracture selection was also carried out. The basis of this selection was
zones in the southern pinnacle and near the eastern and the optimization between well performance, cost effectiveness
western flanks of the fields (Fig. 9) and the ability to manage the risks and uncertainties
effectively. The 9.5/8” Mono-Bigbore Long Casing Flow
As seen in several Central Luconia fields (e.g. E11/F13W, (MLCF) completion incorporating a high set 9.5/8” TR-
F13E), a zone containing paleo-residual gas exists below the
moveable gas water contact (GWC). A review of GWC
SPE 77940 3

SCSSV (ca. 1000 ft) is selected as the preferred completion Surface development options
type for E8 due to the followings; Two main options have been considered for locating
processing facilities for E8:
• The Cost of Capacity (CoC) is less than that for a 7.5/8”
completion. 1) Full processing at E8. The gas and condensate are de-
• The technical risk of a 9.5/8” is less than that of higher hydrated at E8 and transported to the existing trunk line
sizes, as they are relatively unproven and the higher tubing system.
sizes offer no cost advantage over a 9.5/8” MLCF 2) Processing remote from E8. Well fluids are transported
completion. from E8 to an existing platform complex for processing,
prior to evacuating to the trunk lines.
Figure 4 illustrates the proposed well design for E8
development wells. The large monobore completion Surface initiatives
eliminates any restriction in the tubing string that creates Several initiatives were undertaken in developing the E8 field
turbulent zones during production. As a result, production rate development plan. Among the foremost that had to be
will be maximized and the number of wells required to addressed were:
develop the field is minimized.
Security of supply
The completion materials will be L80 13 Cr which is suitable
for use in E8 conditions characterised by about 2.5% CO2. An area of concern was security of supply should E8 be
This material will prevent corrosion related well integrity developed as a satellite to E11 complex. There are a number of
problems throughout the life of the well. upcoming projects that tie-in to E11 such as Shallow Clastics,
F13W and F13E. These projects would make E11 the largest
Drainage Plan gas processing station in Central Luconia. It was perceived
Based on the expected platform capacity of some 600 that the heavy dependency on the E11 complex would
MMscf/d, a total of three 9.5/8” MLCF wells are planned from potentially jeopardise the gas supply should anything happen
a centrally located drilling platform. on the E11 complex. The objective of the study was to
quantify security of supply for E8 satellite and standalone
A deviated producer is planned to manage uncertainties with development. The E8 standalone development scenarios are
regards to potential presence of a baffle layer in the southern compared to the satellite development scenario in terms of
pinnacle. The other well in the south, which is horizontal will potential assets and sales loss through occurrence of major
be positioned in the high porosity and permeability areas. It is events such as fire or explosion and trips to platform.
also planned to TD the deviated well some 300 ft tvd deeper
than the horizontal well to allow future gas water contact Methodology. To assess the risks associated with each option
movement monitoring when required. a quantitative risk approach has been selected. An overview of
this approach is provided in Figure 6. The center of the
In the north, a horizontal well will be placed close to the top model is an event tree. The event tree is a list of events (fire,
carbonate given its smaller gas column of some 650 ft. The equipment trips, etc.) that can cause production or asset losses
planned TD of this well is some 450 ft tvd above the OGWC. in the E11 hub. For each event the expected financial losses
are calculated. Per option the total financial losses are
A dedicated development well in the saddle is not currently calculated from the individual events.
supported. In the event of sub millidarcy reservoir in the
saddle, a well in the saddle will be a very poor producer and The expected financial losses are the financial losses in case
inflow constrained. If reservoir quality is good, then the an event occurs, multiplied with the probability that an event
planned north and south producers will effectively drain the occurs. The financial losses are the production losses
saddle area even without a dedicated drainage point. multiplied with the gas price and the cost to replace the
production facilities. The expected financial losses are a
Well Performance measure of the economic impact of the risk evaluated.
The predicted well deliverability is presented in Figure 5. The
well capacity is based on the initial reservoir conditions and Two types of events have been considered:
the base case permeability of 50 mD and 20 mD for south and
north reservoir respectively. 1. Catastrophic events. These are events that would cause a
long down time. Typically these events have low
At the required Flowing Tubing Head Pressure (FTHP) of probability and involve asset losses. And example of this
1,600 psi, the horizontal wells for south and north are capable type of event would be a platform fire, leading to a long
of producing 310 and 240 MMscf/d respectively. The deviated shut down (6-24 months).
well in southern pinnacle is predicted to deliver some 270
MMscf/d. The catastrophic events and their consequences have been
identified through a team review, involving multiple
engineering and operations disciplines. The probability of
these events has been obtained from industry databases.
4 SPE 80465

2. Equipment trips. These are typically much more likely than Slug Catcher liquid discharge control valve with high flow
catastrophic events, but have a shorter shutdown duration. override controller. High flow override was added to
An example of this type of event would be failure of the prevent overloading of the downstream condensate system.
power generation at E11, leading to a shutdown of · Flow control Slug Catcher gas outlet control valve with
several hours. low pressure override controller – to maintain differential
pressure over the condensate system.
To identify these events, E8 facilities and the E11 platform
have been modeled with an availability model called MAROS. Results. The proposed slug control scheme can be used to
From the MAROS model the frequency of trips and the manage the liquid slug generated during pigging to prevent
duration of the outage has been obtained and entered in the high liquid levels and gas surge. The scheme can also be used
event tree. A spreadsheet has been developed to calculate the to manage the liquid slug generated during ramping-up and
expected production losses per event from the event start-up.
frequency, duration and capacity shortfall. The main inputs in
to the model are: Operations philosophy

· Frequency and duration of the event Studies carried out show that unmanned operations of E8
· Capacity reduction during the event drilling jacket was possible with a clearly defined operating
philosophy to ensure minimum intervention of equipment.
The model calculates the production losses, taking into The logistics and planning was derived from a maintenance
account system excess capacity. Generally the production database. This maintenance execution plan is worked out to
losses will be significantly lower than the capacity losses. This minimise exposure of personnel to boat transport as well as
is due to a system wide capacity margin. This margin is create the opportunity to share resources such as personnel and
maintained to provide a buffer against equipment trips. The boat between satellites and mother platform. One fast crew
losses calculated by the model are very conservative. boat will be shared between three new platforms following
this arrangement.
Results. The difference in production losses between the
standalone and satellite development concept to E11KA is not 1. Scheduled visits to E8 remote satellite jacket will be once
substantially high and does not offset the lifecycle cost per month based on the requirement for preventive
savings. The risk to the security of supply is of developing E8 maintenance and pigging operations.
as a satellite of E11 is low, compared to the expected lifecycle
cost savings. 2. The control and monitoring systems for the satellite
facilities is to be designed for full remote operation,
Slug management including start-up and shutdown, Frontline maintenance
checks or operational activities that would necessitate
For wet gas pipeline operations, pig-generated slugs is visits frequency of more than once per month will be
expected and slug management has been studied through static designed out.
and dynamic simulation. Slugs are expected during start-up
and pigging. 3. To further enhance remote monitoring, surveillance
cameras will be installed at strategic locations such that
In order to manage the incoming pig-generated slugs, a adequate coverage of the facility is possible from the
dynamic simulation study was carried out to: remote control centres located in the BOCC and E11 CCR.
- Determine whether a slug control system was required This requirement will also contribute to enhancing physical
- Analyse the behavior of the proposed slug control system security and access control to the facility.

Based on the simulations, a basic configuration for the 4. F&G system with executive action for fire detection will
proposed slug control scheme is proposed : be rationalised or totally eliminated to further minimise
intervention arising from spurious trips
· The pipeline pressure controller at E8. This controller
throttles the choke valve on E8 to maintain pipeline 5. Remote start-up after ESD will be possible if F&G system
pressure and avoid pressure build-up. is eliminated given that the only other cause of ESD will
· Slug Catcher level controller. This controller first throttles be manual initiation either from platform or remote
the slug catcher liquid outlet control valve (Output 0-50%), location.
then throttles the large slug control valve (Output 50-75%)
and finally throttles the small slug control valve (Output 6. Online corrosion monitoring using minimal intervention
75-100%). fast response corrosion monitoring system with probes in
· Two slug catcher inlet valves of 16” and 4” acting as slug relevant locations in the pipeline will be applied. The
control valves. Two valves were selected to provide the chemical injection system will be designed for very high
full range of turndown rates. reliability to ensure that overall system effectiveness of
98% is realised.
SPE 77940 5

7. Main parameters of the corrosion inhibition injection

system to be monitored and/or controlled from the BOCC
and E11 control centres. These parameters include flow
rate, tank level, pump status, pump start/stop capability,
and low flow alarm indication.

8. Platform will be designed for simultaneous maintenance

and operations and therefore special consideration would
be given to location of vent, general arrangement of
equipment, escape routes and life saving systems.
Provision of ‘pad eyes’ for anchoring of temporary well
testing rigs and clean up facilities will be made for such
future well intervention activities.

9. Storage requirement for all consumables (e.g. diesel,

corrosion inhibitor and portable water) to be for a
minimum of 2 months.

11. The injection system to be designed such that a cocktail of

corrosion inhibitor chemical and methanol are injected
simultaneously. This will further ensure that corrosion
inhibition injection is not compromised.

Results : The operation philosophy for E8 satellite

development clearly defines the parameters for remote
operations of E8 drilling jacket.


Key issues related to reliability, security and operational mode

were resolved through extensive studies that justified the
satellite development concept for E8, thus achieving
substantial lifecycle cost savings.

The Authors wish to extend their gratitude to PETRONAS for their
permission to publish this paper and to the E8 FDP team for
their contribution.
6 SPE 80465

9.5/8” Mono-Bigbore Long Casing Flow

M1 9.5/8” X/tree & WH

SK8 Sea Bed
G7 F29
BERYL/HELANG 26” Conductor
@+/- 800ft ah 9.5/8” TR-SCSSV
F23 LAILA @1000 ft

SK3 F13
SK307 @+/- 2000ft ah
RB 9.5/8” 47# 13Cr
E8 Shallow

D12 13.3/8” x
9.5/8” Packer
D18 Tie-back Seals
@+/- 3500ft ah
0 50 KM

9.5/8” Csg shoe
Top of Carbonate
o oo o o
o o oo
o o
Fig.1—Situation Map of E8 o
o oo ooo o o o o o o o o
o oo
7” Pre-drilled liner

Fig.4 Proposed Well Completion Design
E8-2 E8-4 Schematic



E8 SOUTH 2200
Top Carbonate

FTHP (psia)

Saddle Area 1400



800 South - Deviate d Well

South - Horiz ontal Well
Fig.3 Seismic Line across the E8 carbonate build-up 400
North - Horizontal Well

0 100 200 300 400 500

Gas Rate (MMscf/d)

Fig 5 Predicted Well Performance

Curves (Base Case, Initial
Reservoir Condition)

Modelling Approach
Team Industry Asset Costs
Review Database

System Expected
Capacity buffer Losses
Capacity Event Tree

Minimum Tank
Select High
MAROS Vo lu me

Fig.2 Petrophysical Log Expression – Well E8-2 Fig. 6 Security of Supply